DIPLOMATIC BREAK

Kenya should remain friends with Somalia

In Summary

• Somalia has expelled Kenya diplomats from Mogadishu and recalled its own diplomats from Nairobi

• President Muse Bihi of Somaliland paid an official visit to Kenya this week

Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and President Uhuru Kenyatta during Farmaajo's inauguration in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and President Uhuru Kenyatta during Farmaajo's inauguration in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Image: PSCU

Somalia has broken off diplomatic relations with Kenya. It has expelled Kenyan diplomats from Mogadishu and has recalled its own diplomats from Nairobi. 

It is a tragedy that neighbouring countries have fallen out this way.

There have been many sources of friction in the past with Somalia. Kenya is claiming some Somali territorial waters at the International Court of Justice as there may be oil there. Somalia feels that Kenya interferes with the internal affair of Jubaland. On the other hand, multiple terror attacks in Kenya have come from al Shabaab in Somalia which is why KDF is part of Amisom.

Yet none of these disputes caused a diplomatic breakdown like today.

The present flare-up followed the official visit of Somaliland's President Muse Bihi to Kenya. Somalia believes that Somaliland (basically the former British Somaliland) is an integral part of the federal state. By hoisting its president, Kenya apparently endorsed its independence. That crossed a red line for Somalia.

Somalia and Kenya have too much in common to fall out. We share populations, businesses, borders and trade. Both sides should sober up and look for the earliest possible resolution of this crisis.

Quote of the day: "I belong to everybody, and I belong to nobody."

Muhammadu Buhari
The Nigerian president was born on December 17, 1942